Category Archives: running

tuesday tip — labels.

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I’ll never forget ordering my first small t-shirt.

When I was in college, my sorority got t-shirts made for pretty much every event we held. I always ordered a medium because that was my size and, courtesy of my twisted ED-wired brain, I was always terribly ashamed of it. I was positive that whichever sister I submitted my order to was judging me for being a medium and not a small, and that everyone who saw me in my shirt thought the same thing.

My junior year, right before I was diagnosed with EDNOS, I ordered a small for the first time. I knew I’d lost a good deal of weight, so I was confident (hopeful?) I’d be able to fit into a small. When my shirt came in, I stood in front of my mirror, held my breath, closed my eyes, and tried it on. When I opened my eyes to see that the shirt fit, my spirits catapulted me up into the air onto Cloud 9.  Angels sang the Hallelujah chorus as I pranced around proudly in a small sized shirt. I felt unstoppable. I felt invincible.

And, of course, by invincible I mean relieved that my starvation was finally paying off in a visible way.

Ergh.

A couple months ago (before I tore my ACL) I was in my room getting dressed to go on a run. I opened my t-shirt drawer and sifted through my collection until I finally found one of the several small shirts I ordered myself in college. I held it up to my chest, thinking it probably could still fit, and then I stood in front of the mirror, closed my eyes, held my breath, tried on the shirt, and then…

Oh shit.

The shirt didn’t fit, which made sense, because I’ve gained weight since being diganosed with EDNOS. Duh, I thought. I knew this would happen. I sat down on my bed, my spirits crushed, and didn’t even bother going on my run. Now I have to wear medium shirts and everyone is going to see that I used to fit into small shirts but now I have to wear mediums and therefore I’m fat and ugly and worthless and…

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: IGNORE YOUR LABELS.

If you’re like me and just knowing that whatever label you’re wearing isn’t small enough, let it go. Not only does no one else on the planet know what label you’re wearing (contrary to popular belief, it’s printed on your shirt, not your forehead) but no one else cares. Oh, and more importantly, labels have no bearing on your self-worth whatsoever. Whether you wear a small or an XXL, a 4 or a 20, you are lovely. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Imagine what life would be like if that was printed on your shirt. Go ahead. Imagine it.

And now, make it your reality. Mentally replace all of your clothing size labels with words like, “beautiful” and “gorgeous” and “talented” and “incredible.”

Because even though your size labels are only printed on the inside of your clothes for only you to see, these true labels are what everyone else already sees. It’s about time you did, too.

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tuesday tip: move!

Last Wednesday, I twisted my knee something fierce at my contemporary dance class. At the time, it seemed like nothing, but when I woke up in the night screaming in a fit of pain because I’d moved my leg, I realized it was more serious than I’d originally thought. The next morning my sweet husband drove me to a walk-in clinic and we got some x-rays done on my knee. No broken bones (yay!) which means it’s either a torn or sprained ligament (boo!).

Crap.

Guest starring: jorts!

I have to go in on Friday to have my knee re-evaluated, and if it hasn’t gotten any better, I’ll get an MRI to see what’s wrong and if (God forbid) I need surgery. But here’s the deal: I’m rocking that stylish knee immobilizer and some sexy crutches for an indefinite amount of time.

This makes me sad because that means that for GOD KNOWS how long, I can’t practice this week’s self-love tip. So, for all you able-bodied folks who can, here’s today’s tip!

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: MOVE!

If by now you haven’t been told by at least a hundred people that exercise is good for you, I’d like to get the address of the rock you’re living under so I can personally come by and take you on a bike ride.

Here are all the reasons that exercise is great, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Exercise improves your mood. When you move your body, your brain releases “feel-good” chemicals that actually make you happier. No joke! And, because exercise keeps your body in tip-top shape, your confidence level rises, too. Basically, you can walk around like the sun shines out your ass. (I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR A REASON TO USE THAT PHRASE FOREVER. Points to whoever names that movie!)
  2. Exercise fights chronic illness. Heart disease? Diabetes? Osteoporosis? HA! Not for the physically active! Exercise keeps your cholesterol and heart pressure at healthy levels.
  3. Exercise helps you manage your weight. OKAY HEAR ME OUT HERE. When I say “manage your weight” I don’t mean “make you super-skinny.” Exercise keeps your body at the weight that suits your UNIQUE frame best. Even at my healthiest, when I was dancing 20 hours a week and eating super healthy things, I was still about 5 lbs overweight according to the BMI charts. (This, by the way, is where I am now.) Exercising builds muscle (which weighs more than fat) and burns fat. As long as you’re staying active, you’re healthy, no matter what a scale or a BMI chart says. It “manages your weight” healthily. I cannot say that enough. (Oh, I also can’t say enough that your “weight” is just a number. Just like your GPA is just a number. No one can tell what you weigh by looking at you any more than they can guess the GPA you scored in college. Mine was a 3.6, in case you care.)
  4. Exercise boosts energy. The experts say the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning. It gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing and your metabolism kicking in the morning when you need it most. And then, your body continues to burn more calories throughout the day. Win! I, however, can’t seem to forfeit extra cuddle time with my hubs in the morning in order to go running, so I do it in the evening. But still, when I come home from a nice long run in the evening, I have lots of energy to spend making dinner with Dan or chatting with friends or whatever tickles my fancy! (Another phrase I’ve been meaning to use. SCORE!)
  5. Exercise helps you sleep. This makes sense, right? The more energy you exert throughout the day, the more rest your body will crave and ultimately get. As a former insomniac, I can totally attest to this.
  6. Exercise can make your sex life better. After celebrity blogger Perez Hilton lost 90ish pounds, he looked at himself in the mirror and said, “I’d do me.” That was a huge turning point for him, and frankly, I know what he means. I never feel more sexy than I do when I’ve been consistently running or exercising regularly. But honestly, do I really need to explain this one? Or have you all already shut off your computers to go for a jog? (Dan my love, are you still reading this? Why?)
  7. Exercise can be fun. This is the main point I want to drive home to you. Please don’t join a gym after reading this because you feel like you have to because I said so (have you been reading closely? I never said join a gym. Where did you get that from?) Exercise because you “want” to. Find an activity that you love and do it! Is it walking? Dancing? Swimming?  Biking? Hiking? Wii Fit? Playing soccer? Football? Tennis? Whatever it is, do it! If you do something you love, you’re more likely to stick with it. If you hate running and you sign up to run a half-marathon, you’re going to hate your life for the months leading up to it because, hello, you have to run. You’ll either be miserable when you exercise which will make you want to plant yourself on a couch indefinitely or you’ll quit. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Okay so! Hopefully I’ve been able to sell the idea of exercising to you. If you aren’t already active, I challenge you to try incorporating just 20 minutes of physical activity into your life each day. Journal about it. See if it doesn’t lighten your mood a bit and make you feel better. And, if I can’t convince you, just look at First Lady Michelle Obama. She’s working the “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity and, in case you don’t already know, she’s freaking hot.

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your body is your baby.

Guess what? Loving your body the way it is means you never have to make healthy decisions about what you eat/drink or exercise. The moment you decide to love your body is the first moment you can eat whatever you want, however much of it you want, and sit on your comfy booty until your heart’s content!

APRIL FOOLS! Oh man! I so got you!
(Whoa. Is that a scary picture or what? So sorry. I tend to underestimate my natural scare factor.)

I get questioned a lot on this subject as a self-love warrior. If I tell someone I’ll be late to something because I’m going for a run or that I can’t meet them for lunch at Burgers R Us because I packed something healthy, they might reply with, “Why bother? As a self-love warrior (is that what you call yourself?) you’re supposed to love yourself the way you are, right? What’s the point of diet and exercise? Here. Eat a burger and drink nine beers. You love yourself. Just do it.”

I can definitely see their point in this logic. (It’s quite easy to see their point when I’m half way through a five-mile run and want to barf all over myself or when I’m munching on a side salad whilst inhaling the intoxicating aroma of a giant and forbidden bowl of crispy, golden fries sitting ohhhhh 3.2 inches away from my face.) Your body is your body is your body, no matter how far away it is from society’s cookie-cutter beauty standard. And yes, I believe you should love it no matter what it looks like.

That said, I don’t think constantly eating junk food and leading a sedentary lifestyle is loving your body.

Sorry, fries and couch. I love you both but we need to stop hanging out so frequently. It’s not you — it’s me.

For several years in a row I gave up fried food for Lent. It was always quite the miserable 40 days; at each meal (especially those out at restaurants) I’d sit and silently curse myself for doing it. “Ugh. I’m SO not doing this next year. Fries are so delicious and, let’s be honest, every freaking thing comes fried now. If I want to avoid fried food, I should just eat grass and drink water because I’m certain that even Diet Coke comes deep fried now.”

(I can be a little over dramatic sometimes. I try to pass it off as endearing. Just go with it.)

At the end of Lent I’d always break my fast with a meal that looks something like this: a big ole’ order of fries with a side of burger (yep, I said that right) deep fried with fried donuts for dessert. (Am I exaggerating?)

And it would taste like it was deep fried in angel tears. And twenty minutes later I’d be doubled over in pain.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat crappy, over processed, generally-nutritionally-void food, I tend to feel weighed down and lethargic afterward. After eating out, the last thing I want to do is anything active. Or productive. Or useful. I just want to plop down on the couch, flip on the TV, and veg while my body expels every ounce of energy it has to digest the monstrosities I’ve just consumed. Until three hours later when I get a little hungrier (not enough so for an actual meal) and reach for something easy. Small but fun. A bag of Cheetos, perhaps. And then, the next morning, I feel a bit gloomy on top of feeling bloated and uncomfortable. And so I don’t feel like taking the time to fix a healthy breakfast or lunch. So I run through the Starbucks drive-thru and get a gigantic latte and a huge bagel with gobs of cream cheese. I promise myself I’ll have a salad for lunch. My body needs some vegetables, I can feel it. And I sit in my cube and stare at my computer screen until my eyeballs feel like they’re going to fall out. And then I realize it’s noon. So I get in my car and head out in search of said salad. I go to Subway, because I can get a salad there. But I can also get a sub. And really, isn’t that a better choice? And I’ll get mayo just this once.

Before I know what hit me, I’m crumpled on the floor of my room in tears because I’ve eaten crappy food for too many days in a row and haven’t exercised enough and my body is telling me that it is fed up the only way it knows how.

Crappy food begets lethargy begets more crappy food begets lethargy begets

depression.

Now, am I saying that eating out (even fried food) will lead you to depression? Absolutely not. No way no how. Most of my favorite memories with friends have happened over meals in fun restaurants. And, I could never give up fries forever, even if someone came out and told me that fries are actually fried in arsenic. I’d likely die eventually of arsenic poison.

But. Your body is your baby, and it’s the only one you have. You wouldn’t feed your baby crappy, fattening food 24/7 and let it sit in front of the TV all day, would you? (I have connections at DCF. Don’t make me call them on you!)

To truly love your body –your baby– you’ve got to feed it the things it needs to keep it healthy. You’ve got to keep it hydrated. You’ve got to exercise to make sure your muscles are strong and that your heart and lungs work properly. You’ve got to have regular check ups.

But you can do all of that and take it out for ice cream or a beer every now and again. Loving your body is not depriving it of fun and treats. Loving your body is simply that:

Love.

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my first half marathon.

7:15 am. Fifteen minutes before gun time.

I parked my car in a garage close to the start and finish of the race. When I looked around at the other cars pulling in, I couldn’t help but stare at their drivers and passengers. We all had something in common. We were all here for the same reason.

We were all about to run a really, really, REALLY long distance.

As I got out of my car and started walking to the start line for the marathon, I noticed that the above statement seemed to be the only thing we had in common. I looked a lot different from everyone else walking (or running?!??!!) to the starting line. The women had no boobs. The men wore tiny shorts on really scrawny legs. This wasn’t a 5k “fun run.” This was a half and full marathon. This was the big league. This was about to be the most intense morning of my life.

At the start there were signs held up with large groups of runners clumped behind them:

  • 7:30 Pace and Faster
  • 9:30 to 7:30 Pace
  • 10:30 Pace and Slower

I scoured the mob but couldn’t find my two friends, Evan and Madison, who were also running the race. That was a bit disheartening, but I quickly shrugged it off and reminded myself that I was running this half marathon for me and no one else. I headed to the back of the line to join ranks with the “10:30 Pace and Slower” runners. As soon as I got in line, I felt a relieved. Back there, I wasn’t awash in a sea of two-by-fours with pony tails. I was comfortably placed among women who still had a womanly body shape (like me!) I was right where I belonged, and I didn’t care if that meant I was “slow.” I kept my focus on my three goals:

  1. Finish.
  2. Clock in under 3 hours.
  3. Don’t be last.

I found peace in those three goals. Based on my training, I figured that I could meet them. But my comfort was shattered as soon as the starting signal sounded and the mob began to move forward. I panicked.

My insides screamed, “No! Wait! I haven’t trained hard enough! My longest run is only run seven miles! I can’t do this!”

But it was too late to chicken out. One step. Two. Three. Four.

And I was off. I was running, hoping to reach the finish line at 13.1 miles without dying.

If it were up to my cardiovascular system, I could have run the entire marathon (26.2 miles.) I didn’t find myself out of breath ONCE. My breathing was always steady, always controlled, and always comfortable. I only slowed to a walk at aid stations (placed every two miles) while I calmly drank water or Gatorade. Slow and steady. Slow and steady. Just finish. Because I was near the back of the pack (albeit not last!) I was usually alone. There were a few rare moments when I was within 30 feet of another runner, and because I wasn’t allowed to wear headphones I found myself immersed in a quiet stillness accompanied by the rhythmic patter of my running shoes on the pavement. Relaxing. Freeing.

For nine miles.

Around mile ten, my legs were done. Everything from my waist down was burning in excruciating pain. I remember thinking that I was feeling the worst pain I’d feel until the day I’d give birth. Every step was harder than the last. But I’d gone too far to give up. I had to keep going.

The last mile was the absolute longest of all of them. By the time I was approaching the finish line, the majority of the racers had already finished. They were walking back to their cars on either side of the road I was on saying, “Great job! Keep going! You’re almost there!”

I didn’t know if I loved them or hated them in that moment. But I smiled and said, “Thank you” regardless of my feelings.

Just shy of the finish line I saw them — a cluster of people jumping up and down and shouting my name. I couldn’t make out the faces as I trudged past them, but those people knew me. And that was enough. I saw the clock at the top of the finish line: 2:59:29! I’d done it! I’d met all three of my goals! I excitedly crossed the finish line with my fists in the air and turned hug the bodies attached to those faces.

Evan. Suzanne. Kelby. Kyle. Wendy. Janice. LeRoy. Shannon. Madison.

I knew that Evan and Madison would be there because they were running the race. But I also knew that both of them would finish before me and I’d just assumed that they’d leave after that. But they didn’t. They waited for me. (Evan waited over an hour!) I hugged all of them so tightly and let them tell me how proud of me they were. That was so special to me. Being that the race was on a Sunday, my husband was unable to be there. So the fact that my friends were there was so incredible. They even took pictures of me and texted them to my husband to show him. I really don’t have any other words for it. My friends are amazing.

I could never have done this without a bunch of people. So I’ve got to dish out some thanks:

Thank you:

  • Evan, for being my training buddy and being so unbelievably nice about the fact that I run so much slower than you and hold you back.
  • Everyone at the finish line. I know I already said it, but seriously. It meant the world to me.
  • My husband, for encouraging me to train even on the days when both of us just wanted to stay in bed and cuddle.
  • Tara, for letting me use/commandeer your shin brace.
  • Hal Higdon, for having a fool-proof half marathon training schedule.
  • Runner friends, for your unending advice and encouragement.
  • The Flight of the Conchords, because anytime I felt like giving up I’d just sing to myself, “I’m the mother flippin!”
  • Anyone who ever experienced my tardiness to a meeting because a run took longer than I thought it would.
  • Zack and Sarah, for letting me use your gym when it was too bloody cold to run outside.
  • Florida, for not snowing on February 6th.
  • Sliders, for helping my thighs to remain unchafed.
  • Gu, for being equal parts disgusting and effective.
  • The folks at the first aid station who were blasting Flogging Molly as I approached.
  • The police officers who stopped traffic to ensure the runners’ safety.
  • The cars the police officers stopped, for being so incredibly patient (except that one guy who laid on his horn.)
  • The runners ahead of me who gave me high fives and shouts of encouragement, even though I was behind them.
  • Everyone who every prayed for me and this race.
  • Everyone who told me I could do it when I said I couldn’t.

And, most of all,

  • God. I wish I could say that I’d prayed for something else in my life harder. Finding the right husband. Finding the right job. Loving my enemies. Whatever. I honestly can’t think of anything I’ve prayed harder for before, during, and after. Thank you, God. You are amazing. I hope I could glorify You in this.

Lindsay & Evan: Half Marathoners!

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running into a problem.

Okay okay okay. I know you’ve all been dying to know why my blog has been so quiet. (Or, at least, this girl has.) I’ve been MIA for a number of weeks for one (pretty demanding) reason:

Surprise! Now all you crazy stalkers know where I live!

I’ve been training to run my first half marathon on February 6th. WHAT? Yes. Half mothertruckin marathon. That’s 13.1 miles in case you weren’t aware. (Before you stand up and start hooting and hollering for me, chill. I haven’t done it yet. The farthest I’ve run in one session is seven miles.)

It’s so crazy to think back to nine months ago when I ran my first 5k race. I was so proud of myself! Now, a 5k is merely a warm up for me.

Now, my training hasn’t gotten in the way of my writing in the way that you’d think. I’m sure you’re all assuming that I just haven’t had the time. While you’re right in thinking that I’ve been understandably pressed for time, that’s not my problem. I can usually find time to write no matter how swamped I am. (It’s a necessity, people. Writing is therapy for me the poor.)

I just have too much to write about that it’s overwhelming.

I’ve heard a number of my runner friends say things like, “I need to go for a run to clear my mind.” Or, “Work was so stressful today. I just need to go for a run to take my mind off of things.”

No matter how compelling my iPod playlist is (or how deafening the volume is) running doesn’t clear my mind. Rather, it does the opposite. For some unknown reason, running ignites my idea gland (?!) and my brain is flooded with deep thoughts and delicious words and poignant observations that I need to write down. But I can’t. Because I have to run a certain number of miles a day to keep training for this dang race. So I stomp the pavement faster, all the while internally repeating sentences and paragraphs and lists and maps in my brain in an attempt to remember everything I need to write down in five, four, three, two, ONE! miles. (Recently I cut a run short because I came up with a chapter for a book I’m writing. A chapter! Of a BOOK!)

But if I don’t stop my run to write down my thoughts, I am a lost cause. When I get home to my journal and laptop, it’s all gone. I have nothing. I try so hard to hold on to it for the duration of each run and I always lose it on the pavement somewhere between my work and my house.

And all I’m left with is a soggy shirt and messy hair.

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